tv Panel Discussion on Race Power and Politics CSPAN May 27, 2014 12:15am-1:46am EDT
"double down" by mark hall present about game-change 2012. the 2012 election between president obama and mitt romney. that's going to be fascinating and i look forward to looking at that again. also, the "outpost" talks about american valor in afghanistan. i try to visit the wounded warriors here in washington at bethesda navy hospital, walder walter reed hospital, and shows extraordinary bravery on the part of our soldiers and this is a book about that bravery and how they all banded together. finally, just so you don't think i'm too serious, there's a book here called "my ipad" and i also intend to read this, this is a present given to me, along with "ipad for dumbies" because i'm tired of having to ask my children, what die do
when i get stuck. so maybe if i read these two books at a nice pace,'ll be able to know when i touch something that it jumps off i'll know how to get it back. >> do you intend to download books your ipad? >> after this, the sky's the limit. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> what are you reading this summer? tell us what's on your summer reading list. tweet us. post it to our facebook page. or send us an e-mail. >> from the 2014 national black writers conference a panel discussion entitled "race, power, and politics." this is about an hour and a half. [inaudible conversations discussion]
[inaudible] [inaudible conversations] >> once again good, afternoon, and again, i want to welcome you to the national black writers conference. thank you so much for being part of this great, great conference. again, let's give the organizers a big hand for organizing and putting this together. [applause] >> always do such a great job, and this panel is part of the great job they're doing today. race, power, and politics, is the title of the panel. our moderator is wallace ford. his panel will be johnny, mark heel, michelle wallace, and open -- so let's welcome our moderator for the day, wallace ford.
[applause] >> thank you, and good afternoon. good afternoon. hello. all right, okay. fine. we would like to first of all just thank you for coming to the 14th annual black writers conference here at medgar evers college. i'm wallace ford, the chairman of the public administration department in the school of business and the author of the point of view contemporary commentary blog called love and hate and the time of obama, and the host of a show seen in various parts of the country the introduction today has to do with the topic of race, power, politics. race and racism has been described as america's only sin, beginning with the particularly odious form of racial based slavery begin thing 1600's and carried forward to this very day. the issue of power has a three-part, submit, context.
there's knowledge, economics, and the political aspect of it. and it is one of the -- because it is a very important part of the concept of power, it is one of the reasons why it was forbidden for black slaves to learn how to read and write. was also the reason why black slaves were forbidden to own property, and of course we see iterations of that again going forward even into to the 21st 21st century, but after emancipation the read line -- red line was drawn at a different point and that had to do with access to political power. and the battle has been going on, i would submit to you, really since emancipation, and we have had the laws and restrictions and the terrorism to keep black people from voting over many years, and here we are in the 21st century and we're still talking about vote are suppression strategies and legislate being advocated by one major party here in the united states. and so we do have -- of course, this notion of power and race.
on the political side there's been a progression of politics going from, of course erick man's pacing politics, to dealing with issues that we have seen articulated for so many years in the civil rights era, and i suggest to you again as a civil rights era and the struggle for civil rights has not ended but entered into a new phase, and we had an era of political activity where there was the first black mayor, the black governor, first black senator and so on in the modern ear rare and now the fir african-american president as well. one of the things that panelists will be discussing is just where are we in this modern era of politics in terms of black people, and certainly the election of barack obama brought about such terms as post racial politics and we have to examine that and see what it really means in terms of the political activity, the political discourse, the political
direction that we see for the black community here in this part of -- first part of the 21st century. so we're going to -- i'm going to do my job, which is a very pleasant one and one i'm honored to do, which is to introduce our guests. as was already cased mark hill, jalone cobb, and michelle wallace and we'll ask our speakers to speak in that order, and we will then open the discussion up to all of you because this is meant to be an interactive event. i'm sure our colleagues have much to say that is of interest and value, and of course so do you. so we want to make sure we have an includes area process right here. i'm going to rae from are in cobb's bio. associate professor of history and director of the institute of african-american studies.
professor cobb is the author of substance of hope. president barack obama the paradox of progress, and to the break of dawn, free-style on the hip-hop ethis tick, a -- esthetic, a finalist for the national awards work for book writing and then the struggle for civil rights. mr. cobb has been a featured commentator on msnbc, national public radio, cnn, al jazeera, and other broadcast outlets and you have his twitter line in the program and you're urged to follow him as well. with that, it's my pleasure to introduce jalony cobb. thank you. [applause] >> one, like to begin by saying thank you for inviting me. it's an honor to be here. especially with someone who has
been attending this conference for a very long time, and from the point where i was a fledgling writer trying to learn the ropes and find out how this artistic undertaking worked. so this conference has been key to me in lots of ways over a long period of time. so i'm very happy to talk with you today. i was -- for me the subject of this panel, i was somewhat apprehensive. i think it's impossible to have this conversation without talking about the obama presidency but also a very fraught subject in that we have these disnantz impulses determines the way we respond to president obama and criticism of barack obama. that was most evident to me recently when i made a oblique criticism of the money my brother's keeper" program, and
it's rather obvious shortcomings, failings, and the difficulties implicit within trying to address issues specifically to african-american men while we have a black presidency. so, as i was saying, i think the fundamental point here -- i will say this -- we're in a point of regression while we appear to be in a point of progress. this is not atypical. if we have any knowledge of the history of black people in this country. but to say there are strains of regression implicit in something that appears to be progress is not uncommon. so in 2008 we saw the election of the first african-american president, something we saw none of us ever thought would happen in 2012 we saw the re-election of an african-american president, and these two things have gone hand in hand with a
movement to eviscerate the voting rights act which people have soon to have been somewhat significantly successful. the ongoing move to make it more difficult for people to have access to the ballot, the ongoing unchecked excesses of a prison industrial come mess, the -- complex, the ongoing issues of income inequality think black community still reeling from failure to redress the disproportionate racial impact of the housing crisis and so on. so, all these dynamics happened at the same time we have seen a black presidency, and in talking about those dynamics it's often taken as a criticism or referendum on the barack obama presidency. i don't think anything -- we should understand anything of the sort. very briefly about "my brother's keeper." the concern with that program, $300 million that was raised by the obama administration through
private philanthropic efforts to support programs dealing with young men of color and their needs. $300 million sounds like lot of money but it's actually less than the new york city budget for the parks department for one year. >> wow. >> $300 million spread over five years, over young men of color, across the united states. and this is less than what the parks department spends on its annual operating budget for one city, for new york city. that's the first thing. the second thing that is really of particular concern here is that it says -- you know, in 1896, when booker t. washington gave the atlanta compromise address in which he says politics could not get black people where we wanted to be. we had mistakenly placed our faith in politics.
that statement galvanized what became the niagra movement, what then led to the naacp, what became a century-long effort to push the political envelope, and the civil rights movement and so on, the attempts to gain political rights and to see where we could -- how we could use the political system to better our conditions. in looking at the african-american president who sees disproportionate lack male unemployment. the circumstances of jordan davis and trayvon martin and the best response that we can anticipate is that from private philanthropic money. it says we perhaps reached the ceiling booker t. washington talked about, is this the farthest you can go. the highest expression of political power is the place from someone in the white house and that person is incapable of addressing your needs on
specifically public policy and federal policy level, it says perhaps we need to revisit what booker t. washington was saying. i don't want to say i don't think politics is useful but if nothing else, as we look toward the end of the barack obama administration, we have to have a very difficult conversation about where the limitations of politics and what are the new strategic directions we have to come up with if this is incapable of producing more than the anemic racial returns of the obama administration thus far. and i'll stop there. >> thank you, professor cobb. our next up, professor lamont hill, and mark lamont hill is one of the leading hip-hop generation intellectuals in the country. his work, which covers topics such as cultural, politics and education, appeared in numerous journals, magazines, books and
anthologies, the author of "beats, rhymes, and the classroom of life," hip-hop and the politics of identity, schooling hip-hop. and conversations on black life in america. and a collection of conversations between professor hill and political prisoner amal. he lectures widely and provides commentary for npr, the "washington post" ask "the new york times" and a contributor to cnn and the former host of "our world with blackber price." hi holds an affiliated -- institute -- join me in welcoming professor mark lamont hill. [applause] >> thank you. i want to echo jelanis comment that this conference is so exciting and i'm delighted to,
and decider bren -- dr. brenda green who does so much work every day to make this conference possible happen. to go second after jelani because i had a sense he would cover a lot of interesting stuff i agree with wholeheartedly. i am equally curious about what this political moment means and am struggling to make sense of it. in a way that is productive for us. because i could -- we could just -- i could just spend an hour critiqueing the obama administration's policies but i'm not sure that will get us as far as other things might. this moment so bizarre to me for so many reasons. there's just a few things i find frustrating. one, i wonder if over the last six years, we have yielded a level of moral authority and political authority in deference to the obama administration's
sort of symbolic triumphs. are we excited -- so excited to have a black president we're willing to no longer engage critique? you can argue we have -- we make -- i remember in '04 and in particular being in d.c., and being in an antiwar march, and there were black people there, brown people there, so much activism so much curiosity about this invasion in iraq, questions about weapons of mass destruction, and then when i fast forward to now or even just to september, i remember when we were talking about strikes in libya, and i remember black people defending potential strikes in libya, defending preemptive strikes in libya. not retaliatory strikes. the idea we can engage in preemptive war as a means of advancing a foreign policy and that's the quintessential bush
doctrine, and the idea that black people, maybe for the first time i've known in american history, to be war hawks, and in support of a presidential administration that to me was puzzling and made my wonder where our center was, where our center was going. that was curious to me. i -- we know there are predator drones being struck in yemen and in afghanistan. we know what happened in libya. there's all this stuff happening as a hawkish foreign policy and the quintessentially bush and reagan foreign policy and yet we have not had a critique of it. jelani talking about the "my brothers keeper" initiative and i can't imagine any other moment we would be celebrating an intervention into black misery through corporate fill -- ail anthrop by as opposed to public policy, and taste biz -- bizarre and i don't see or hear
critique. it's not uniquely obama. i don't know of any presidential administration in the last 50 years that talk about poverty in a substantive way. so it's not like just obama is an out liar but our expect it station he would be an upset of presidencies marked we indifference to povertity and i think -- i think that might just be the limitationses of this form of politics. what i'm curious about and what i'm most by -- i just don't want to talk about obama -- is this intersection between race, power and politics and how it's so heavily tied to late capitalists. i'm wondering if we as a community can have a different kind of conversation about the state of late capitalism, about the role that the market plays right now in everyday life, from the way in which education continues to be privatized, the way -- everything is being prizited. -- privatized -- [applause] >> this is part of the issue of
race power politics, we have become obsessed with privatization, and we have raced privatization such that the general pock has an appetite for privatizeddation because we national the private to be good and the public to be bad and the public is bad because it's often marked on race terms. right? public education, public housing, public housing, public transportation, public schooling, public options, public anything is marked as black and brown and therefore dispoable, and as a consequence we buy bite ourselves. we want our kids in private school. we think of public houses for people to build in the housing -- but the taylor home order cabrini any green, so there's a way in the an economic agenda is being advanced through racial politics and one thing that concerns me the most we're obsess it with the private, destroying the public good and i'm not sure we have a language to do that. so when president obama comes to
the race to the top, market, based response to education might might be better "no child left behind" but -- when we see mass incarcerations, we see it as a crisis but it's not just a crisis of crime. it's very little is a crisis of crime. it's not just a crisis of criminalization, although that's port to think about the way in which law is structureed. also an economic crisis and the we we have market values that incentivize companies, governments and individuals to support laws that expand mass incarceration so at the end of the day we have to have a conversation about the market, a conversation about the economy, and a conversation about the role that capitalism is playing in cutting across all these sectors. we need do that in order to have a conversation about race, power, politics. i'll stop there. >> thank you professor hill. appreciate that. your comments.
we now have as our next speaker, professor obry hendricks who has been hailed by cornell west as one of the last few grand prophetic scholars, but we hope you're not the last. but he is the former wall street investment executive and past president of payne theological seminary, the oldest african-american theological institution in the united states. professor hendrick is currently visiting -- a visiting scholar in religion and african-american studies at columbia university and a professor of biblical interpretation of new york theological seminary. a contribute for to msnbc, huffington post, a trustee of the religious institute? washington, dc and a member of the u.s. state department's foreign policy working gruesome the author of living water, novel, and his most recent book,
"as the universe bens towards justice." please join me in welcoming professor oobry hendrick. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. i'm also glad to be here. i i'm also a long-time participant and supporter and beneficiary of the black literature conference, even before i published -- before i even thought about publishing any books. i'm really glad to be here. i'd like to shift just a little to talk a little bit more about the subject that my colleague, mark lamont hill introduced and that's the intersection of race and power, and just have to remember that race has always
been a strategic tool used by the forces of capital to divide workers and to weaken workers, keep workers from collective bargaining so they can continue on with their uninterrupted profit flow. and so they demonize black folks, saying we're the problem. but it's really a strategic tool that is used. how they have done this? well, they use coded racial terms like intercity and lazy, undeserving, welfare queens and all that in their racial rhetoric, and use these terms and concepts to cast blame for the plight of everyday americans on what we might call post government inequality. when the real cause of the vast wealth cass. in america is cause bed market based inequality. the constant receive of -- it
says the cause of the severe wealth disparities in america is not the capitalist excesses crony capitalism and putt and addition of works and outright and dishonest and illegal practices in the market, both post-government inequality says it ignores these factors having anything to do with economic suffering and dislocation of struggling works. instead it says the day-to-day economic struggles of americans are the result of government policy that seize people's income -- read white people's income -- and wealth by way of federal taxation, which is then transferred or -- here we go -- redistributed to be used for the bun fit of the undeserving. be they faceless spend crazy or tax and spend government bureaucrats or distributed to caricatures of shiftless
undeserving poor people, which conjures up the image of black folk, supposedly lazy welfare kins kings and queens. so we see the poor and tryingly toothless rights with a policy that would give them a fairer economic shake because they're afraid that black folks might benefit, too. i mean, they need to pray there is some redistribution. so they might be able to live little bit better. then what we call -- one might call -- one economist calls ahis to thattic race -- aristocratic racism, and the attitude some of wealthy elite -- not all, particularly corporate elites and especially those of inherited wealth like the koch brothers, is an altitude that the rich are entitled not only
to eat more from tree of life than those beneath them on the economic ladder, but also to run the entire nation. they think it is their right. that is to say that aristocratic racism says that the rich are not just different from the nonrich f. scott i fitzgerald wrote but they're a superior human subspecies. if if it says the nonrich deserve fewer life chances than of course african-american are seen as all the mow undeserving of economic equality. so here again we get the least beneficial end of the policy stick under attitudes of aristocratic racism. so, what can be some of the goals of these corporate capitalists and wealthy elites, strategic use of racism? one, is to distract american people from focusing on
capitalist policies and practices that mitigate against the good of society. for example, we have the american legislative exchange council funded by the koch brothers, that formulated this stand your ground law. they wrote the whole bill and sent it to legislatures around the country, and many of them proposed the bill without changing a word, to become law. why? look what happened with stand your ground, for instance, with trayvon martin. just to take one case. the whole attention of the nation became distracted by what happened with the stand your ground law. a young black man killed. see a young black woman who is looking at life in prison because she shot in the ceiling,
and what we see is this energy and focus is on these kinds of things on the ground, but we might ask yourselves, why would the koch brothers fund an organization -- why would they be at all concerned about stand your ground laws? the koch brothers aren't -- people in their class are never threatened by anything. or anyone. they have armies of bodyguards. why? well, yes, they do it because it distracts us from look at their practices, from looking at the koch brother as one of the ten greatest polluters in america. we don't look at what is going on with the keystone pipeline. they're supporting the keystone pipeline and saying that it's because of jobs, america need jobs. we don't see they own 1.1 million acres and it's estimated they will -- acres around the keystone area, and
that they're estimated to make between 50 and $100 million as this pipeline is brought to fruition. so, that's one reason that they use, race, and that is to distract us from look at what is being done. another reason corporate capitalistsistsists and the weay elite use racism and race as a strategy, it's to disempower working people. so, they can't effectively struggle for a true economic democracy in the work place. keep us angry and looking at each other and pointing fingers, fighting for nickels and times when they're making billions of dollars. the other reason for thing extra is to create a poorer, less educated, scapegoated labor pool that can even more easily be exploited with less than living wages. and how they do this?
well, there's a long list, but give you a couple of examples. one they're trying to dismantle public administration, public education, by sponsors local politicians who favor private education, as professor hill pointed to. also by resegregating public education, literally resegue be grating. give you an example, dismantling public education and resegregating it. again, the koch brothers, through the american for liberties -- for prosperity organization they founded and the largest funder of -- successfully elected -- supported and elected local school board members in wake county in north carolina with buzz words like, neighborhood schools, neighborhood education, to get them to dismantle the program they had that was very successful and that the students weren't arguing about, that they
had this diversity program that allowed a real interaction between black and white folks. very important because when we have mostly black schools, we know that we get the shortened of the stick again. we get the fewest resources. we don't always get the strongest teachers, and we often get even fewer programs, and fewer advance programs and then also, they're trying to affect us by voter disenfranchisement. and attachments to demolish whatever edifice of democracy we do have by conjuring up images of cheating volters and cheating black voters. this is very important. they're trying to dismantle democracy. even trying -- they backed off at -- even trying to get the 17th amendment to the constitution repealed which gives voters the right to elect
their own senators. directly elect their own senators rather than those in state legislators who can be easily bought out. they actually want to dismantle the voting franchise. we're concerned about fanned -- stand your ground and they're getting away with murder. and also we see this conservative, corporate libertarian types doing their best to withdraw funds from black community by seeking to cut programs necessary to black community health and well-being, on down the line. paul ryan is a poster boy right now with the forces he is talking about. there's much more. but i just want to end by echoing martin luther king in the last years of his life when he said that the next phase of the black struggle is economic, is for economic democracy in the workplace. that is to say we must see racism as a strategic tool of
capitalism and must be involved, as martin luther king said in class warfare -- his terms -- class warfare, identifying for economic democracy in the worth police. there is no democracy in the work place. try going and say, i disagree with this policy so i think we should -- and you'll get your walking papers. so, i think that is the fight -- we must say racism as a tool of the capitalist order, looking to disempower workers, dismantle unions so they can have even more of a hegemonic sway and control over our lives and the direction of our lives and our life chances. thank you. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> i'm going to just bring your chair over here.
they're going to be projecting images on the screen. just move your chair over to the right. before the light goes out. after memorize this -- michelle wallace is our next speaker and she is a self-described feminist scholar, cultural worker, intellectual, who has been furring the difficult wok of decobblization since her first book, black macho and the myth of the super woman, published in 1979. [applause] >> some people are telling their image in the process over there. her books include -- other becomes include, black popular culture: dark designs and visual culture, and invisibly blues from pop to theory. her attention to the invisible and/or fettishization of women
has made possible new critical thinking around the intersection of race and gender in african-american visual and popular culture, particularly in what has been called the gap around the psycho analytic and contemporary african-american critical discourse, aren'tly miss wallace -- professor wallace teaches in the english department at the graduate center at the city university of new york. please join me in becoming professor michelle wallace. >> hi. i'm here today to talk about my mother, faith bringold. [applause] >> she is a world renowned artist, and we're trying to do a power point here but we can't get it to project as we wish.
all we can do it get this, which is the slide sorting page. so, we're going to work with that. if we can get less light in the room. like that light right there. it's probably two things. one, i think it's a problem between the mac -- they're not used to pc, and number two, it is a large power point. and so i think maybe there's some part of the system that is not able to see. it's like 160 images, and -- anyway, i got to do the right thing because my mother is here. [applause] >> in the front row, and i will introduce heir in a moment. [applause]
>> and i have been given many, many instructions about public speaking. don't spend all the time apologizing for things that nor are not going to happen and get on with it. faith ring -- today i have chosen to focus on her work of the '7sod because it's such -- of the '70s, a large array of work, much relevant to the discussions of my other panelists who were excellent, but lately we have seen the revitalization of the '60s with some of the writings i done. a catalogue, american people black light in which i wrote a crucial essay, and there's a show right now at the brooklyn museum called "witness" which includes two works by the brooklyn museum, which they are -- they have purchased or --
i don't know and tense to use -- but anyway, they're in their collection. and these two works -- you'll never find this out because they don't want to print at the title because the title of the moats important work is called die nigger slag for the moon. done the year the united states landed on the moon, and its name is "die nigger" so who would have thought all these years later that the white press is so afraid to use that word, at least in writing, that you'll see it ultimately referred to as a very attractive flag painting or an american flag, anything but "die nigger" which is the name of it. the chase manhattan bank almost
bowing the painting because you have a look at it for a while before you can see it says "die nigger" a black light painting from the 1960s. so that work and a work called study new, which comes out of the civil rights mom, particularly the episode in which charlayne hunter-gault was integrating the university. so the '60s -- i don't know who you know it or not or you have gone over to brooklyn museum which has a show on the art of the civil rights mom, finally, here in brooklyn -- [applause] >> from the '60s, you know. 2015. i rule opinion out. and it's curated by shelly jones, which some of you may know. so that's going on. so now my mission is to bring to the public the '70s are work.
faith is known for her children's books, tar beach being the most famous of them. [applause] >> and her work is in the collections of all the major museums. but right now, since i was growing up while the was doing the '70s work in 1970 i was 18. in 1979 i was 19 -- or 1980 i was 20 -- no, that's -- 28, right. 1979 i did "black macho." when i wrote "black macho" after having spent my life living in a house with an artist who produced the work you see behind you, producing the work you see behind you, and who was a black feminist and who i was actively
engage width all the time, didn't mention that, and we have often talked about why, but number one, in excuse for myself, i didn't know how to mention it. and, number two i was not encouraged to do so by my editor or my publishers. was encouraged encouraged to may mother in my work, and her only presence is it's dedicated to my mother, and she did the picture of me on the back of the book, and actually they misspelled her picture credit. so i can't remember what it was. wasn't faith ringold. some kind of way they did that. so so we're still addressing that. i am belatedly trying to introduce you to the work of the '70s which is always
fascinated me. and want to do an exhibition project, book. i'm doing a book called "faith ringold" my mother, my muse, my mentor. " i'm going retire next year, and devote my life to doing this. because my mother is so wonderful. i love you, mom. [applause] so, i'm going to ask the people in control to turn the lying off so that the camera can see the screen, rather than me, as i know they're able to do on c-span because i've seen it done. and the guy in the booth is going to just roll slowly through a selection of her
works. i have pruned this down from 300 work from '70s and this is 160 of them. it includes some pictures of some of the political activity. i chose then 70s because this is a political panel and her work in the '70s was political. i guess near the going to get any of the lights off. how about the house lights? house lights? oh, me? [inaudible conversations discussion] >> it's a little -- it does look better. so you see the work of faith ringold in the 1970s. i'm starting my process by -- i started by constructing a master chronology of all the work, in order, by medium. and this was the period in which
in the '60s faith only produced painings. this is the period in which she started using other media, and this is the reason. the reason is because she had all these big paintings, and no place to keep them and nobody wanted to look at them and nobody wanted to buy them, and we were living around them. she couldn't dare produce more. okay? and she kept those paintings all these years. she kept them safe, for 50 years, and now people are receiving them. so she began to work with different materials and to get very engaged in political protest. that is her. in 1970. a picture of her with a work in the background. that's her protesting in front of the museum of modern art, because we were very actively protesting the museums then. and you can't see that picture but i look really cute in that picture. i was 19 or 18 or something.
she had become a feminist so everyone in the painting is a woman and it shows women doing things that we really didn't ordinarily get to do in the 1970s like play drums,. the white woman who has the baby in her arms there's a bus driver we didn't have that. a doctor who's teaching at the university. there is a lady running for president. there's a woman marrying somebody. there is a woman cop. anyway that's all blah now. keep rolling. and then we have got selections of clinical landscapes that she did. this is what she did for shirley chisholm. you remember when she ran for president and we didn't show her much love but my mother did and she did a series devoted to her.
these are the political posters which are now worth monumental amounts of money which she used to give away. one for angela, one for the united states commemorating -- thank you. great. i didn't expect that much time. so i can point out the united states is up there. that was commemorating the awful thing that happened that anneka in 1971. we were all so he reads about that and of course some of the panelists were talking about a legacy of what happened there. which is really stunning. the criminalization of black people and brooklyn being one of the primary locations of that.
roll on. these are the feminist theories. she could travel around with. she quit her job teaching as a teacher and began to go around to colleges and campuses because she couldn't show in new york going all over the country showing her work. these are feminist landscapes. she got the idea from tibetans in amsterdam. she had the idea doing landscapes and she loves to paint landscapes. and putting the words quotations from important black women and black feminists historically. so the way you do want it you have words. those words are quotes. roll-on. then she got into this slave rape series which is dedicated to black women and slavery in the tongass in which -- is
called the slave rape series. she wanted to really connect with the experience of black women but not having been to africa yet. roll-on. during this period she goes to africa. see what is happening is because it's so big it is taking a while for the images to load. i don't know what kind of projector this is. usually when people do powerpoint they have two or three images. i don't know what that's about. anyway these are what she did. family of women. keep rolling. roll on and then she started doing dolls. the women she had grown up with. keep rolling. this is windows of the wedding. she wanted me and barbara to get married. so she started doing wedding art
these were like stained-glass windows. roll-on. this is will chamberlain who wrote a notorious look at the time about lack women. she started doing sculpturesculpture s of him and also his wife and children and then she started doing wedding couples hanging them all around. i would go around the house and all of them was a wedding. she was trying to work on us to get us married. [laughter] in her own special way. keep going. the wake and resurrection of the bicentennial. roll on. although this is what she started to do when she had been to africa. just roll-on to the end. i am done. thank you so very much. [applause] thank you.
[applause] [inaudible] >> thank you again professor. appreciate it. a round of applause please. [applause] and thank you for the gift of your ipad here. >> thank you very much. thank you for your patience. >> we are going to get right to our discussion part as i mentioned at the beginning. this is meant to being an interactive experience here. we enjoyed our initial comments from her guest speakers. what i would ask is if you would and i think we have the microphone over here read if you feel you can speak without a microphone that's fine. you need to speak to the microphone.
we got a very subtle message from someone waiting in the back saying speaking to the microphone. if you have a question for one of panelists i ask you to come forward forward. in the inches that time there's an expression that sometimes everything has been said that not everybody has said it so we don't want to get into that. what we will ask is if you have a question for one of our commentators please address it to the entire panel or one individual. my colleagues if you would like to chime in at that point with additional comments we will just move on's nclb go. with that introduce yourselves please. >> my name is yvette oren united methodist women. first thank you to miss rheingold for all the books he gave my children. coming up they really enjoyed your books. [applause] my question has to do with something marc lamont hill's said about privatization and it
has to do with public schools. we have all seen the commercials for the charter schools. they have a little thing on the bottom this is paid for by charter school parents but if the charter school parents had that kind of money they'd be in private school. i see they are making this a battle. they are trying to make the brown folks fight you know. how do you organize against that kind of money? what i was wondering if i saw that paid for by charter schools i turn the channel. i would turn the channel and literally another one was on. this brown versus board of education type inequality going on inside the same building where the charter schools come in. they can renovate it. there are the children he can't get books.
don't have libraries and i know they have them at the accident accident -- excellent school that my children went to. >> to me organize and work is always connected to political education so part of what needs to happen is that understanding the nature of charter schools and why they could be problematic. i'm frustrated with how they are being used. our schools were designed to be laboratories of experimentation and innovation so we would have a charter school and try a new curriculum and try some new approach to distribute to a larger public school system. charter schools are in effect public schools but the public funding is sometimes often but corporations are different people so to me the problem isn't charter schools. it's the way charter schools are being used to dismantle the broader education project. school choice has a broader
repertoire of possibilities in dismantling public education. because the language is itself, it who doesn't want choice? poor people deserve choices and rich people deserve choices of the language of choice smuggles a particular political vision and strategy. charter schools are problematic because one they strip away large layers of funding from the broader school system and they go to these pockets were not everyone has equal access to them. charter schools have the opportunity not to include students who have disabilities emotional disabilities and they have the ability to send children back when they are not performing so often there are different because they can throw back the ones they don't want. but not for the funding which becomes really tricky. there's also what we call a cleaning effect. the engaged parents who do come to school every week those are
the ones who often access the charter schools first. so you cream off the top 10 to 15 performing students in most engaged parents and public schools are left with less engagement than we have before. we had a balance of students connected to each other in terms of performance and engaged parents. they are all in one room and the others are in this other room. i have gone on too long but it creates lots of problems. the other problem is there have been new tax credits for charter school buildings. a lot of the bulk of the money going into public schools is going into private corporations coffers for the ostensible purpose of building charter schools. what we see is a strengthening of private wealth under the guise of public education. a lot of people don't understand that. that's how they persuade parents. the other thing is the schools don't work read most of the
schools don't perform better. they will pick the three that do but that's like me going to -- back and saying education works. it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. the first thing we should do is organize parents by giving them information. we also can't be condescending to parents particularly those -- because if your kid does go to school with notebooks and it is a charter school -- it depends on the state. they may annex it out. i don't get mad at parents for making decisions that are best for their children. we have to declare a universe where there good options that don't come at the expense of the people. the traditional schools also have to choose a school board and administrators that matter. we need to vote in people who
have an agenda on education and not just the vision of what public should education should look like which liens and corporate interests. it comes down to political education and organizing. >> okay thank you. [applause] >> good afternoon. my name is jason harris. i'm from baltimore. the question that i have is i was really excited that from the start everyone talked about the economics because it seems to me that for the civil rights movements the most effect if event was the montgomery bus boycott. that was the thing that had an outcome that really forced an entrenched policy to be changed. so in this day and age we are saying we have reached a ceiling with political power and the
type of outcomes that we can have operating within this political arena. what are the strategies, the basic strategies that we can start using or are there any strategies that you have identified in your research that work as far as creating something that communities can agree on and pursue and have success with regards to economics? >> to you want to take that? >> that's a good question. i appreciate that. in a trilogy of articles on martin luther king "the huffington post." their first tour in the archives and you can look them up on her by name. the last one is my why the king had to die. it focuses on the poor people's campaign. when martin luther king
understood and what we have to understand is we need a real countervailing force against the forces of capitalism and wealth. and we don't really have that. unions are the closest that we have so we have to really start organizing and supporting unions again fighting against the demonization of unions. how can people praise donald trump and demonize the union workers folks who really work and most of the raisa we take for granted came for unions. we must focus on structuring unions again. also put the poor people's campaign king self-consciously found several broad principles and broad goals that would encompass most of the people in america and the poor people's campaign and to bring people together with common interests
to fight against those who are in power and those in positions of exploitation. that is to say you can't come together around narrow interests you have to use broad interests and realize that it really is us against them as king said in almost the class warfare sense. those in power are doing everything they can to push back and to dismantle and to disempower and they -- it's almost like they cohere into the corporate class against us but we are fighting with these different groups sometimes against one another. i'm saying the first step brother is to identify some real commonalities and tried to bring people together around economic commonalities. one commonality of course is the concept of economic democracy. we have at least formal democracy everywhere in american
life at least formally except in the workplace where we spend most of our waking hours. that is a travesty and a tragedy that most people don't see it that way. we have to raise consciousness and say look we are in a state of neo-feudalism. those of are in control tell us if we are sick whether we can go and see our children's programs in school and that kind of thing i think that is really a broad interest that affects all people and i think that's something we need to really start talking about to try to get together, and adjust and push aside those things that divide us. >> thank you. next please. >> good afternoon. i have a two-part question. >> we the traditions of please? >> and my name is deborah suthers and i'm from this area for an heights.
i've been a single mother to three boys that i raised all by myself on the school system in this area and i watched. charter schools is new for us because the money from our community has always gone to another group in crown heights and they all had the private schools. i had to fight as a single mother not only against the system to educate my boys and send them to private school but there was a whole challenge between the church class privilege amongst us ourselves who totally had a ceiling this high that if you were single parent your children weren't good enough. so we held each other. we hold ourselves back. for example when i came along i raise my children in the church and i say today where's the church? my children did not want to go to church. we had mega-ministers with megadollars. they owned planes and they owned
jets and i didn't see any money being put back into the neighborhoods. they didn't build the school so we could have our own charter schools. we talk about what everybody does to us and we don't say what we do to ourselves. we have to lift up our government. i can't ask another culture to lift up our boys and make them be the men they are when our churches have failed them. my question is how do we deal with that and for mr. hendricks to answer that in mr. copp i would like you to answer about about -- when i open up the paper and i look at beyoncé spending thousands of dollars to get her hair done jc spending another $7000 to have his barber come to get his hair done and then they build the stadium are they
putting any money back into our society? we have money. we need to stop acting as if we are begging and so needy. we need hospitals and we need them to get money. they're not making them accountable. my question to you is how can we make people within our own society stop doing the class thing? the church has money and plenty of that. hip hoppers have money. >> i right thank you. going forward for now i didn't say it before but one question per customer. >> we professor hendricks in terms of churches there's not a not -- there's not a lot -- there are some real problems with churches today. churches are so inward looking. there are more about institutional maintenance than
what they are supposed to be about and that's trying to change society. we have a problem with too many ministers that did not know what they are talking about. they do not understand with jesus talked about more than anything. jesus said the spirit of the lord is upon you. you preach good news to the poor. what is good news to the poor other than you are going to change the systems and the structures and relationships that make people war and keep them poor. what we have to do i think you start holding these preachers speak to the fire. the problem is that many of these churches are so performance oriented that people don't go to them because they want to be part of a progressive body. they often go not to be a congregation but to be in the audience to entertain. part of it is i think we need to lean on the church is some but don't expect so much from them unless they are already going in
that direction. because today with the prosperity and all of that and everybody has to be a bishop or an archbishop or something today if they were really about changing the world like their faith is supposed to tell them to do than then our society would be very different and our communiticommuniti s would be very different. i don't think they are the ones that we should be going after unfortunately even though most of our people and resources they're there. i think we will have to come up with countervailing forces despite them because folk are going there too often to have fun instead of to have church. >> professor cobb i believe the question was addressed to you. >> i want to be as succinct as possible. [laughter] i want to be as succinct as possible. i think that about jc and
beyoncé we remember when our great harry belafonte mentioned a guest 10 months ago now for eight months ago now that he didn't think that jc back and beyoncé were doing enough with the resources that they had. people thought they could criticize mr. belafonte as just another one of the generation criticizing younger black folk. i was in the middle of twitter fights and work was probably in the too. you don't understand. you don't have the standing to talk to harry belafonte. [applause] he referred to him in a rap song and so on and slide look that someone from a different generation but i know i'm an academic and an intellectual but a whole different other side of me comes out.
that's my brother and you can't talk to him like that. moreover you don't have standing because this man raised his life literally risked his life. to bring money to sncc in 1964 he and sydney poitier flew down there thinking because they were the most famous black table in the world at that point that nothing could happen to them and the government would be forced to investigate something big. that is who that -- this man is but that said i think we should be hesitant to rely upon or to expect that from the celebrity model of entertainer. we live in a different point. i think we need to recognize that because of capitalism and moreover the capitalism culture jay-z and beyoncé are symptomatic of much bigger concerns. this is not unrelated to the pastors and preachers and so on. what we have to do is go about the hard work of building a
culture that can sustain itself and reject the values. [applause] this goes for us across all different sorts of lines. i know to not be afraid to say things that will get you into trouble in the last thing i will say is this in terms of institutions and what we are willing to fight over. yesterday johnson publications ebony magazine did something i thought was unconscionable and we should all talk about this. they are at ebony mag on twitter. it a writer had a dispute of minor dispute with a person who is a press person from the republican committee and she said i don't want a white person telling me about being black. it turned out this person was black and took offense to it. she apologized for assuming that she was white but the conversation continues like they basically don't care what you have to say which is her right
and within her rights. she did apologize for summing the person was white. he is also juan williams son. a flagrant sexual harasser and this is in the record and the reactionary person that he is not surprised that his son works on behalf of the republican national committee. however avenue magazine saw fit when the republican committee demanded an apology ebony magazine that magazine at the publishing company that published the picture of emmett till's desecrated body kowtowed and apologized to the republican national committee. they apologize for gutting the voting rights act. [applause] if we have institutions and it was our own fault if we don't hold them accountable. >> thank you. next question please.
[applause] >> thank you. my name is silvia canard. i am the chief diversity officer and an attorney for this institution and thank you very much for your comments. last year we actually gave a lifetime achievement award to faith ringgold so faith ringgold so it is alive and honored to see her here again. my question to the panel is this. he talked about the tentacles of capitalism that cuts across a number of areas in our culture society and i specifically wanted to hone and on the conversation about the industrial complex particularly as it relates to the black labor behind bars. i wonder if there's a way to think about how we flip this conversation to expand entrepreneurialism particularly among our young men but among our young people. we are in a global economy where
you can do business from brooklyn to beijing on the internet. how to erase this conversation? the capture of labor and they efforts of our labor that are being exploited behind bars for so many young people who could not get jobs outside on the street but are somehow being trained to duke computer consults and software designs behind prison walls. if you can address that please because particularly we have so many opportunities to do business in not just the caribbean but in africa china has basically taken over africa africa. how do we recapture that which is hours from an economic and on this global stage? thank you. >> just a quick response. i i i am an historian so i think about these things than long-term. we talk about a three-fifths compromise and we know three-fifths compromise that the
slave would be considered as the three-fifths of the a person in the house of representatives. the three-fifths compromise was grandfathered in 1868 so every individual born in this country was a whole citizen. it was also in doing the dred scott decision of 1857. what happened to this? it was an attempt by northern republicans between the 14th and 15th amendments to create a new political class in the south out of the newly emancipated black people. there would be an electoral political check on the political power of southern democrats do it torn the country and have to defend their right to hold black people as slaves. we can create a population that will hold its republicans that we can actually diminish their ability to have the same sort of influence. it did not play out like that because the 14th and 15th amendments served to give more
power to southern whites and than they had before the civil war. now they are counting the entire populations of black people have close to 60% income is 100% of the population so means you are entitled to more representation being held to more revenue for taxes and so on. if you can reduce the population to a group of people who cannot vote through terrorism or physically brutalizing people out of political contention you have more political power than he had then. and so historians say what is past is prologue. when we look at where people are being incarcerated and when we look at the kennedys people come from communities like this one. they come from communities like i lived in in bed sty and that i grew up in southeast queens. they are incarcerated in rural white area so they are now counted in the census as residents of these rural like
areas. in 2014 you have the same net effect that you had in 1872 in tennessee and 1874 in georgia or mississippi and so on. that is being used to get disproportionate power and influence to why people at thorley and politically. this is not simply a matter of we need to get rid of stop-and-frisk. we need to deal with the actual infrastructure which is designed to put limits, hard limits on black people in the last thing i will say is this. a reporter called my and wanted to know if i thought there would be another black resident my lifetime. at i said you know well i compared barack obama to jack johnson in 19 away. he became the heavyweight champion and there were riots in the streets. 2008 barack obama became president and there were black people doing the electric slide in the street.
because johnson existed as heavyweight champion the athletic infrastructure made sure that another black person got a chance to contend for heavyweight championship again until joe louis nearly 30 years later. the biggest obstacle in having another black president is the forces of gore adversarial to us now know that it's possible for a black person to become president. these are the dynamics we are talking about. this is post-reconstruction again the same tactics, the same motivations and trying to create the same outcome which is this empowerment economic exploitation and like people being reduced to nonentities in american society. thank you. [applause] >> first i want to thank michelle for the incredible artwork she brought to this room.
my name is connie julianne. i work on staff of revolution books and i'm part of a movement to build revolution and a time when everything that has been said in this room today to me advocates for that and nothing less. it would be one thing if there was no way to make a revolution if that wasn't possible and everything that people in the 60s tried to do has now proven to be impossible. no, it's not. people should come and talk to me. bob has a strategy for revolution that can work in a society would want to live in. the question i have for you is, i mean disagree with me when i say that barack obama is one of the best arguments for why capitalism cannot do anything for the people of the world and black people in this country. and that can you really argue that all the things you are
talking about the mass incarceration, the incredible savage inequality within education the burning up of the planet which barack obama is on the forefront of and the torturf these things that this country actually is doing to people across the planet. is there anything short of revolution that could actually address it? >> the question is -- the question is what do you mean by revolution and are we talking about something this organic and gradually builds from the ground up fighting against infrastructures or do we have a version like we had in the black
movement. i was a soldier where we would tear things down and all that. the romanticized one is not realistic. i think it's important that his slogan was change and not revolution. he did not come in to be a revolutionary of course and if he had, if he was a revolutionary he could not be the president. i think we have to be working on all fronts. i don't vociferously criticize barack obama in public for this reason. i don't want to give eight to his enemies. his enemies are my enemies. [applause] and this is not directed toward youth that they do have critiques and criticisms of him but i try to offer them in a constructive way. barack obama is ultimately not the problem though. the problem is capitalism. the problem is we are not
questioning the economic structures that are destroying us in treating us as commodified with things. like art mr. king said -- that is what we have to do from the bottom up raise consciousness and try to get some of these preachers to do some reading and thinking about changing the world. i think that's really how we are going to do it little by little. i don't think there's any one leader that we need to follow. no, i don't think there's anyone later. i think we need to organically come together as best we can and push back and look to change things as we can little by little. >> one quick thing about obama. i felt that way about barack obama and before i say things that will irritate people i want people to know i was in south carolina in 100-degree heat walking around organizing voters for barack obama in 2008 in that
same summer. i gave large sums of money to make sure that he was elected president and i served as a delegate in 2008. a committed democratic delegate in 2008 to make sure nothing crazy at the convention happened if the nomination was given to hillary clinton. that said so you don't give aids to his enemies which are rnase that i just wish barack obama felt the same way about us. [applause] the definitive point of the administration was we understany clearly the limitations. any black person who has not gotten credit for something they did at their job understanunderstan ds the position that barack obama is in. we have a particular empathetic perspective on him but for him to then say there are
limitations of what you can do. you couldn't get a budget passed. you couldn't get background checks after those 20 first-graders were machine gunned in connecticut because these people are so committed to making sure that there will be nothing he can point to is your positive legacy. i understand we are all clear but when you turn around and criticize black people for writing after martin luther king was shot at the university of the march on washington and this is what you have to say and then when you turn around and go to more house one of our most respected institutions which we build then attended as slaves and anchor ourselves in that tradition of learning and you have to talk about the people who are not taking care of their kids and then you turn around and go to the congressional black caucus and tell them to stop complaining and put their marching shoes on and take off the bedroom slippers and so on. i wonder then whose side are you on and what it is that we are
you playing to? i find it unconscionable when you can't do anything to help poor people but back up and don't use the biggest bully pulpit in the world to make things a lot worse that already is. [applause] >> we have one more question here please. >> this will have to be really quick. i'm going to introduce and try to talk as legibly as possible. my name is irvin weathersby and i'm oppressed besser in the king system at hunter at queensboqueensbo rough community college and i'm also a graduate of morehouse landers and what you are saying. my question speaks to this idea of the limit stations that you mention that barack obama. obviously i love america and that gives me the right to criticize her but that point being if we recognize the limitations of a representative democracy and we elect people that we may not be able to trust two months later three months later or maybe they are inserting their own agenda at
times where should we go? does that power shift to the academics when there was a time when you mention that whole idea of loki was there. i did that but we all speak about this changing of the culture. i personally and this is my own show coming don't believe that could happen within our current representative system of political power. granted you guys are saying the naacp and all these things happen and we keep fighting for these but we are continuing to be pushed back by these laws are those voter repression things. where should we shift if at all possible as opposed to relying solely on the political pulpit? >> thank you. would you buy take take a stab at that first? >> i think we agree how electoral politics isn't the exclusive space for political work but i think we have all
agreed that it's an indispensable piece. it's a strategy and the tactic as part of the repertory. i think it's always been that way. voting is part of the equation and so was sitting in and the other work we do and i think that has continued to be important to us. i think part of what we need to do is have a real conversation about values and i don't mean that in the way that white people are black people that the world one. we have to reassess what matters to us and we have to engage. i will give an example to make it concrete. we talk about mass incarceration is a problem. 100 americans at -- one in 100 americans incarcerated. it's unprecedented. >> i wanted to say something.
>> go ahead. >> do you want to do for? >> the question is we need to stop mass incarceration and we need to change laws. the problem is to go to prison and you learn how to -- and when rich people's homes burning california they literally let part prisoners leave to go fight fires. how many of us also have a certain value system around crime and punishment? how many of us equate justice with punishment in punishment with confinement lacks when someone has a drug addiction lien in our own community construct these people is bad people. if someone is on crack they make the making aid that decision. the problem is if you are a lack woman on crack in particular you are a person of a particular
sort. we don't have the level of sympathy that we do for the white boy accusing cocaine or marijuana or what have you. 50 years, maybe you should be in jail but 50 years is exorbitant. we have a list of things that we criminalize in this country so my point is we can voter weighs in filibuster some extent but if we have a value system that is informed by our political system informed by particular values that we have bought into like permanent war and like violence. i think we need to have a value system shift and inform the public about them. i think we need to physically avoid that. i think he talked about montgomery. [applause] i was so proud of stevie wonder who said i'm not going to florida as long as standard ground is on the books. but kind of strategic targeted
boycott can we engage in beyond putting on hoodies on her twitter avatars. do you get what i'm saying? i apologize. >> i just want to say the last word. >> the last word. >> revolution today has got to be approaching and i have a suggestion for how you can start a revolution on this very day. it would begin if every single person attending this conference and all your friends and all your family and all your facebook friends were to go to the brooklyn museum today in ask to see witness, the art of the civil rights movement.
go to the desk. go in. go look at the art in that museum. flood the place. start with that and then the next thing is find out why you can't get on public wi-fi in this building. thank you. >> i want to thank view professor and professor hendricks professor copp professor marc lamont hill and importantly i want to thank all of you for attending here today. certainly her comments in your attendance and participation was fantastic. thank you very much and we'll we will be having another panel coming up in about 20 minutes. have a great rest of the day. thank you. [applause]